Private cloud innovations – are we losing out as a result of hosting ‘on-premise’?

For many years’, the only infra option enterprise cloud customers had was on-premise. All this changed during the noughties with the emergence of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and true public cloud commodity computing.

Nowadays, many IT professionals believe they would struggle to be successful without the backbone and brains of cloud computing. It has rapidly become the “must have” business technology, accelerating enterprise transformation everywhere we go.

According to Hussein El-Hindi, Cloud Solutions Engineer, it is also quickly becoming counter-intuitive to recommend an on-premise ‘private cloud’ offering as a mechanism for delivering value to your clients at a time when classic concerns of security, data and access controls within ‘public cloud’ are at their greatest level of compliance and safety.

Delivery techniques and tools

“The seriousness by which ‘public cloud’ providers are exercising best in class practices in operating their services should leave many pondering whether there is anything to gain by hosting and managing an on-premise ‘private cloud’? For many with use cases that demand an on-premise managed infrastructure; advancements in containerisation, orchestration engines (Kubernetes, Mesos) and infrastructure as code can drive higher agility, scalability and lower time to market,” added Hindi.

“The above requires a deeper look at current software development and delivery techniques and tools that can aid in lowering the amount of overhead associated with managing infrastructure. Automation appears to be the short answer but how it is achieved is the key to sustaining scalable, agile and performant applications that span public/hybrid/private cloud and delivers intended value to your client.”

Software delivery methodologies

A workforce that can use software delivery methodologies to drive agile releases appears to be an essential investment and classic budgetary trends would need to cater for this in a way that does not hinder innovation as it becomes a highly differentiating factor in an already fast pace space.

“In regards to typical human nature, most people misunderstand this new cloud capability, and instead, claim that it is faster, cheaper and better than on-premise. Instead, they suggest that it will totally replace this. Yet, in reality, what the cloud offers is a natural complement to on-premise, helping to maximise your choices as a CIO,” agreed Jay Gandhi, Cloud Strategy Architect at Three.

Cloud infra typically offers full flexibility, continual innovations and modernisation e.g., new OS, new DBs, new specs etc (but only as OpEx). For most organisations, they complement each other, but the blend/ratio of on-premise to the cloud would need to be evaluated.

‘On-premise offers fixed assets’

Gandhi continued: “As a metaphor, I usually say you are likely to buy a car or fixed asset for where you live because it is far more cost-effective in the long term and it is a known quantity but when you are on holiday, you don’t want the burdens of buying outright, you just want the service, which is why you rent. This is exactly the same for infra – on-premise offers fixed assets, which can be bespoke, in tune with your legacy apps and can be capitalised, depreciated and maximised over its lifespan.

“Unless your organisation was born in the cloud, I wouldn’t recommend any enterprise organisation to dispose of all of its data on-premise. It should be a measured, planned and organic process, because, from experience, not all applications and tools are cloud-friendly.”

Hindi also noted that companies can implement innovation in public or private cloud, but they should not waste time with the latter unless they have strict criteria that makes the public cloud unsuitable. In which case, they can innovate, given the right workforce and leadership but it would inevitably not be at the same rate and will require a review of budgetary styles to prevent stifling growth.

Written by Leah Alger